You need to ski this trail when there’s no wind, the the sun is shining and the snow is pristine. It’s a bonus if it’s been recently trackset. The scenery is spectacular.
The Castle Lookout to Baker Creek trail received somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 cm of snow on Thursday and the trail was trackset yesterday. With all the new snow, the tracks were soft but it’s not a trail where you want to go fast.
There were other skiers getting ready at the Castle Lookout parking lot. One group didn’t know where the trail started and another said it didn’t look like it was trackset.
The trail starts behind the kiosk, and as for tracksetting, it depended on which direction you were looking. If you looked east, the trail from Castle Lookout to Castle Junction was not trackset and had 30 cm of fresh snow on it.
It’s a pretty easy trail except for one spot which could send you flying onto the road. The steep downhill to the road soon after you start out is too narrow to get a good snowplow going, so it’s a good idea in certain conditions to walk down. Today, with all the fresh snow, it was quite manageable.
The most scenic part of the trail is from 1.1K to 3.3K but there’s nothing wrong with the remainder of the trail. The first kilometre winds through the spruce and pine and I heard a skier scream when when a snowbomb fell on her. It just so happened I had my camera out and got a picture of it.
As the forest thins and the views open up, the first thing staring you in the face is an impressive, close-up sight of Castle Mountain. After a few hundred metres of skiing past a meadow, you start to climb the first gentle hill which takes you into another world of beautiful, magnificent sights.
Skiing along the ridge(or, more specifically, the edge of a cliff), looking down you’ll see the Bow River and railway tracks. In the distance are snow-capped mountains.
If you start at the Baker Creek trailhead, you’ll have to look closely to find the trail. The parking lot is surrounded with a mountainous berm of snow but the trail is there in the usual spot.
Thanks to Baker Creek Mountain Resort for tracksetting the trail. I didn’t have time to explore the new trail from Baker Creek to Morant’s Curve so I’ll save that for a later day.
As I was finishing, I had the pleasure of meeting trip reporter HeatherD and Keith as they were crossing the road and getting started. Another group of skiers was walking down the road, avoiding the steep hill altogether.
Thanks for all the great trip reports. This had to be one of the winter’s best days of skiing everywhere. It looks like they didn’t make the parking lot at West Bragg Creek big enough! If you haven’t seen them, Check out Alf’s photos from West Bragg.
The only new tracksetting for today on the Banff/Lake Louise trail report is Moraine Lake Road.